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Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? - page 2 / 33





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Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn?

In August 2004 the political candidacy of Albert Cheng, host of a

feisty open-line radio programme in Hong Kong, attracted simultaneous

media attention in Canada and the Special Administrative Region. Mr.

Cheng is a leading media figure and his bold pro-democracy stance has

become both a cause célèbre in Hong Kong and also a source of

considerable tension with his broadcaster, who is nervous about

recrimination both from organised crime and from the Beijing

government. His decision to seek elected office in the Hong Kong

legislature maintained a flamboyant public persona and also sustained

high visibility for the pro-democracy movement in the September

elections. But the candidacy also received attention on the front page of

Canada’s leading daily newspaper because Mr. Cheng, like tens, probably

hundreds, of thousands of fellow citizens is a returnee to Hong Kong with

a Canadian passport.1 The newspaper’s Beijing correspondent was fully

alert to the transnational content of the story. Mr. Cheng declared that

he was now fighting in Hong Kong for liberal values he had learned in

Canada: “I have to stand up against violence and against any evil force

that wants to shut me up…This is a Canadian value. It’s something I

learned in Canada.” (York 2004: A10) Moreover, he was obligated to

renounce his Canadian citizenship as a requirement for running for office

in Hong Kong, a step he had found to be “a very serious and emotional

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